The sereneness was broken, however, by a cry from nearby. Livewire through his head in the direction of the cry. "You kids go home and get inside, okay?" he ran off in the direction of the cry.
As he turned the corner he noticed that a Demon had cornered a woman in between two buildings. "HEY!!" Livewire said to the best catching it's attention long enough for the woman to escape. "Why don't you pick on someone who's your own species!"
The young woman, Loran Constantine, a.k.a Rift really wished there was no one to interfere. She was trained to deal with Demons, it was quite literally in her blood to do so. Waiting to the Demon to turn it's head to notice the newcomer, she pulled two guns from in cloak, one gold, the other black as could be. Placing the right amount of pressure on the triggers, she blew two holes into the Demon's skin, muscles and bones, and watched as it collapsed to the ground with a thud. "God the Father forgives, but too bad for you, I'm not Him." she said, placing another round between its eyes.
Turning to the newcomer, Loran returned her guns to their place. "Next time, Don't shout out while a Demon is looking away from you."
"Don't worry. I was more than equipped to handle the situation." he said as he looked down at his hands. "More equipped than you would like to know." his tone was sullen now, as I'd he was trying to hide a fact. "Anyway. That's not important right now." he said looking over his shoulder at the now mangled demon. "How did you do that?" he said as he pointed to the demon.
"It's in the blood. Along with a few well placed shots." Loran said, glancing at the destroyed demon. "He won't be getting up for a good while, if ever. Anyway, I'm Loran Constantine. You are?"
"I'm Sullivan, Zack Sullivan. Most people call me Livewire though; that's my hero name." he said as he extended his hand to hers. "You said yours was Constantine? Any relation to John Constantine?"
"Yep. He's my grandfather. Everything I know about out family profession, he taught me. Like him, I'm a magic using Demon-slayer." Loran replied, the tone in her voice hinting at her own secret.
"Your so lucky. I don't have any family." he looked into the sky as he spoke, as if trying to reference something. "You see, I am half demon. I guess you can say that it's in my blood, too." he closed his eyes and gripped his fists "Makes me wonder what kind of loser parents I have. What kind of human would mate with a demon?!" he grit his teeth as he calmed himself, looking back at the woman before him, flashing his crimson red eyes at her.
"But you don't care about my life story, though." he said as he began looking around for something until it caught his eyes "What do you say I make it up to you?" he said, pointing to a food truck "That truck has the best sandwiches in town."
"That sounds good. I haven't had anything to eat all day. But before that, I want you to know, being part demon isn't as bad as you think it is. I would know. I'm one-fourth succubus, which is what gives me my powers. Now, that isn't to say I don't share the sigmata that being tainted represents. But, honestly, that's our lot in life. We gotta deal with it, as much as we can." Loran said, walking over to the truck. "Coming?" she teased. Thinking to herself, she felt better being able to finally get her secret out to the open, even though it probably couldn't have come out more suddenly.
“Tell that to the kids on the streets.” he chuckled as he walked over to the truck to join her. “Hey, Zack! How you doin'?” the chef said as he extended his fist out of the truck towards Zack. “Not bad. Not bad. How have you been Ernie? How's the misses?” Zack said as he reached his fist out, tapping his fist against Ernie's. “You know how she is; strong like an ox! You gonna have the usual?” he said as he returned to the grill to start making Zack's favorite, the fried bologna sandwich with spicy brown mustard. “You got it. What about you Loran? I don't mean to brag or anything but Ernie's sandwiches are the best. There is no wrong answer.”
"I'm thinking chicken, lettuce and tomato with a bit of mayo on it." Loran answered, smiling. She quickly removed the ebony cloak that covered her, revealing an outfit that wouldn't be out of place at a Rise Against concert, a spiked belt and wristband, a plaid skirt, a tanktop, thigh-high boots and a gove with bands keeping it tied in place.
"I like your style. I was hoping that you weren't a 'capes and tights' girl." Zack said as he got their sandwiches from Ernie, handing her her sandwich as he took a bite of his own. "I have a question. Are you a hero or a villain?" he seemed interested in this question for some strange reason and waited to hear her response.
"That depends. I just keep the balance. Anyone who doesn't check in, gets the boot. Earth, you see, is like a vacation resort. Every scumbag demon and holier than thou angel wants here for one reason or another. There are, for lack of a better term, check in stations, kinda like a front desk at a hotel, all around the world. On this little patch of dirt we call the United States, Papa Midnite runs the local 'desk'. If someone forgot to check in with him and sneaks in anyway, well, I have permission to use lethal force, like you just saw." Loran answered before tearing a bite out of her sandwich.
"You to, huh? Haha. Guess that's just another thing we have in common!" Zack said as he finished his sandwich. "As for me, right now, I'm still technically affiliated with the Injustice League." he looked at Loran intently as he spoke. "My adoptive mother, [[Gabriela Sullivan], never wanted me to be affiliated with villains." Zack said, now trying to avoid eye contact with Loran. "But since she was...killed, I've tried everything, even selling my skills to villains, to find her killer." his resolve seemed genuine and rang even himself to his core.
"I'm sorry to hear that. I'm not sure how to put it, but do you honestly think vengence is going to help?" Loran asked, her words sharper than she had intended them to be. "Even if you find this guy, then what? You'll kill him? I can promise you, whoever did it will pay in the long, eternally long, run. For all you know, he's already dead. Let go of the hate you have, focus on the here and now, not the past. Look to a bright tomorrow, not a shadow of what was. If you kill this person, you'd be no different in the end."
Zack took a long, deep breathe before giving Loran a big smile. "You are such a sweet girl, Loran. Unfortunately for me, though, there is no choice." he said, his eyes returning to hers. "This man, or woman for all I know, took the one person who cared about me the most. She was the only woman who acknowledge me as something more than a demon; the only person who look beyond my impurities to see me, not the demon everyone thinks I am." upon speaking these words to her, he could no longer keep eye contact, as his eyes began to swell with the faintest of tears. "I'm not sure how people viewed you during your lifetime Loran and I am not saying that I do know how you fell, but for me, this woman was all I had. Until I found what little amount of friends I hold onto today, she was it, she was my......everything. The day she died, a part of myself died."
Zack wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his hoodie as he began to spoke again. "The truth is, Loran, is that I would like to do what you suggest and 'turn the other cheek', letting this individual get theirs in the end, but..." he paused, thinking of everything that had been said to the moment. "I have nothing left. No family, very minimal friends, and no one to align my allegiance with. To keep my sanity and to let her soul finally rest, I must find this individual and I must take their life.”
"I don't see a demon in you. You're too controlled to be something so evil. If I saw a demon, I would have done you like the rest without hesitation. Now, what if I could offer you that what you want more than vengence? I know a place where you would be welcome, where you could have a reason to take your anger out on something worse." Loran said, feeling her own eyes become wet with tears.
Zack, with his attention now grasped in Loran's hands, turned his head to her. "Like what?" he asked inquisitively of her.
"I can't say right now exactly. I'd have to have our leader come to you personally and see if you're what he's looking for. But, if he accepts you, as I have, then you will learn what he and I can offer you, But, I've already said too much." Loran said, laughing lightly. "Hopefully, he never has to find out I did."
Zack chuckled as he looked at the girl, wondering if she was serious. "Thanks Loran. You sure know how to cheer a guy up." Zack rose from his seat, extending his hand towards her. "What do you say we go for a walk. I'll take you home if you'd like." he said as a smile began to show on his face.
Loran grabbed Zack's hand and smiled. "I'm thinking a walk would be fun, actually. I've got nothing else on my roll for today, so let's go." she answered happily.
He smiled at her. "So where would you like to go? Anywhere in particular?" he said, still holding her hand, not knowing if he should let go or not, making him feel even more ackward.
Loran noticed she was still holding Zack's hand and quickly let go and scratched the back of her head in embaressment. "Um...I dunno. You pick. Or maybe we can just walk around for a while."
Zack also pulled his hand back as well, as if following her lead. "I don't know. I have the power of Teleportation, so I can go anywhere. It's really up to you." Zack said to her, still smiling through the awkward situation.
Loran chuckled. "Well, if you can take me anywhere, how about we go somewhere relaxing? Maybe we can go to the amusment park or something like that." she said, throwing out the first idea that came to her head.
Zack looked at her, mesmerized by her spontaneity. “The amusement park, huh? I haven't been there since...” he paused, his smile disappearing from his face. “...Gabriela was alive. If that's where you want to go, though, then I'll go too.” he was trying to put up a fake smile and was secretly hoping that it worked. “I'll need you to tell me the exact location of the one you want to go to and...” he made a semi-dramatic pause looking at her intently. “I'll need you to hold on to me again, if that's all right with you.”
Loran put a finger to her lips in thought. "I'm thinking of Coney Island in Ohio. That place was pretty fun." she said before she gripped Zack tightly. "I'm ready when you are."
Zack began to blush and stutter as Loran gripped him. “Yeah, uh um, C...Coney Island. Go...Good choice.” Zack said as he closed his eyes, trying to focus on the image of Coney Island in his head. As he focused, Zack “saw” Coney Island in his mind and in an instant, they were teleported just outside of Coney Island. “Here we are. You can let go now...if you want...” Zack said as he looked at Loran intently.
Loran quickly let go, a faint blush lighting her face. "Um...stay here, I'm gonna go buy passes quick she said, running off to buy the needed items. Once she had passes, she headed back to Zack and gave him his wristband. "Don't lose this." she advised.
"What is it?" Zack asked Loran, examining the strap around his wrist. "It won't hurt me, will it?" he asked, without stopping his examination of the wristband. "I trust you and everything, but it's everyone else I am warry of."
"It's a pass to do all the cool stuff here. I figured it'd be easier to do things like this than carrying a pile of tickets. And no, silly, it won't hurt you." Loran replied, watching his analysis of the band. "Let me know when your satisfied with what you see." she added.
"That's so cool." Zack said, lifting his arm down. "That's alright, I'm done anyway. What do you say we go in." Zack said to her, signaling his arms toward the park and bending slightly, much like a butler. "Ladies first."
"My, what a gentleman. Thank you sir." Loran said walking ahead, keeping a slow, measured pace. "What do you want to do first? I'll let you decide since you did bring me here."
"I try. Guess my mother just raised me right." he chuckled as he followed Loran in. "I haven't done roller coasters in a while." he said with a modest look on his face. "What do you think, Loran?"
"Sounds fun. Let's go." the blonde haired witch said excitedly. "Come on, it's this way We gotta hurry to make it before the line gets any longer." she said, pointing at a short line where the roller coster started.
"All right. All right. I'm coming." Zack said as he followed behind Loran, desperatly trying to catch up. "Hey, you could slow down a little you know, Loran." Zack chuckled as they reached the still short line.
"Sorry, just a little excited. I rarely get time to myself, and when I do, I'm usually reading grimoires and spellbooks. Honestly, it's days like this I can be normal, you know?" Loran said as Zack caught up with her.
"I see where you're coming from but I don't really like days off." he said, leaning side to side to check the progress of the movement of the line. "Reminds that I'm alone. I just don't like that." by this point Zack was getting very excited, anxiously waiting for the line to budge. "What is taking so long he said in a seemingly angry tone. "This is ridiculous!"
"Good question. For such a short line, it seems to be taking a while. Maybe they just filled up a round before we got in line. Oh, hang on." Loran said, just as the line inched forwards. Finally it was their turn to ride. Flashing her wristband at the operator, she climbed into one of the seats that were avalible and waited for Zack.
Zack flashed his wristband also and took his seat next to Loran. "I haven't been on one of these in years." Zack said as he waited patiently for the coaster to take off. "How about you, Loran?"
"It's been a while. Probably since I started training with Gramps." Loran answered as the coster lurched forward, slowly and steadly climbing up the first hill.
"Oh boy." Zack said as he looked over the side of the roller coaster, noticing the ever increasing distance from them to the ground. "I just remembered that I hate..." Just as Zack spoke these words, the coaster, which now reached the top, suddenly dropped off. "...HEIGHTS!!" he yelled out as he choked the bar holding him in his seat with a death grip, his anxiety increasing with each twist and turn.
Even with her being used to flight, the spiralling turns and sudden drops made Loran uneasy, like her heart suddenly learned to jump into her throat, a strange tightness. Yet, dispite all of that, it was worth it all. Feeling the wind run past her, rushing as the coster went down hill after hill. It was a feeling that could never be gotten used to, even after being able to leave ground at will.
When the ride finally came to a stop, Zack was one of the first to jump off. "Phew. That's enough of that thank you very much." he said with a chuckle. His smile faded as he noticed the sun begining to set. "Aww. Looks like we only have enough room for one more quick ride." Zack said as he began to walk towards the ferris whell on the boardwalk. "How about..we go on...the..." his words were slow and chopy, as if hiding something, until he broke out and said the words that pent up. "FERRIS WHEEL!" he yelled as he began to run toward it, hinting to Loran that it had just become a race.
Loran ran behind him, trying to catch up. "You little snot!" she yelled jokingly, knowing full well it was exactly what she had done only a few minutes before, and as the expression goes, turn about is fair play, something she knew applied to all aspects of life, none more so than time spent with people who you could tell your darkest secret.
Zack laughed as he ran up to the ferris wheel, which strangely had no line. "Hahaha. Looks like I win...unlike last time." he said pokingly at Loran, allowing her to take the first empty seat in the ferris wheel bucket. "You first." he said to her in a gentle tone.
Loran sat down in the seat and smiled, waiting until Zack sat down. The sky grew orange as the sun started it's daily desent from the lofty heavens, but for a moment, the witch asked for one thing, that time stopped it's endless march, the slow creeping of the seconds, even if it were impossible.
Zack took his seat next to Loran in the bucket of the ferris wheel, catching her gaze at the orange sun and sky. "Beautiful, isn't it?" Zack said as the ferris wheel began to turn, steadily making it's way to the top and inevitably stopping there. "With a view like this, I almost forget that we're several feet high in the air." he still seemed to be nervous as he spoke to her, though. "Loran, can I, uh, tell you something?"
"Yeah, it's beautiful sight. But anyway, what is on your mind?" Loran asked, breaking her gaze at the sky above to pay attention to her cohort. "If you want to say something, go for it, I'm all ears."
The ferris wheel stopped at the top, just as Zack was about to speak, making him even more nervous as he sat there, trying to find the right words. "Loran." he said as he cupped her right hand in between his two hands. "This may come as no surprise, seeing as how there are so few people like us in the world." he paused to take in a deep breathe before finding the courage to say what he wants to say. "Loran, I like you. I like you a lot. I think this might be the 'love' that my mother talked of." he chuckled trying to hide his servere nervousness, although his hands were shaking.
Loran was taken aback by the abruptness of Zack's declaration. Although, it wasn't expected, it wasn't unwelcome either. "You mean that? Zack, I kinda like you too." Loran said, taking a deep breath to calm herself. She felt an odd lump in her throat, unlike the one from before. Her mind was reeling, and a million thoughts spun around her mind. "I...I..." she said, stuttering, unable to voice her thoughts properly. Rarely enough had it been since anyone took an intrest in her for more than her powers or some family connections that the words she longed to say evaded her.
Zack, too, was taken aback by her words of return. No one since Gabriela has ever even acknowledge his existence as anything more than a "demon-spawn". "Of course I mean that, Loran. Since my mother, I've never been treated so nicely by anyone before." he said, still holding her hand between his as he looked her straight in the eyes. "I want you to know that you can tell me anything. I'll never judge you. I'll never criticize you. I'll always trust you." he took a deep breathe trying to steady his thoughts, as his mind, much like he expected hers to, was racing. "Even if this, if we, don't go anywhere, I want you to know..." he took a pause desperately trying to stop his heart from pounding straight out of his chest. "...I'll always be there for you."
Loran laughed. "You're a sweet guy, No one's ever said that to me. And I want you to know, I will always be there for you," she gripped Zack's hand tighter as she spoke. "You're not a demon, no matter what you've ever heard, and that is something you proved by spending time with me today. And maybe, this could go further. Who can tell the future? Each day is a new chapter in our books, each choice we make, a page written in the clearest ink in the record of history. It's no fun to peek at the end of a story, especially one that only ends when you let it."
Zack looked at Loran as she spoke, not taking her eyes off her for a second; hanging on every word she spoke. "I agree." Zack said, chuckling to himself. “And you're a sweet girl, too.” he pulled his hands from hers, placing his left hand on her shoulder, pulling her closer to him as the ride began to move again and the sun continued it's decent to the horizon. “I would never use you for anything.” he kissed her gently on the top of her head, rubbing her arm with his hand to keep her warm from the now decreasing temperatures. “Do you want to go home?”
"Gotta go talk to Papa Midnite first. I forgot to let him know I made the kill. The old man needs to invest in a cell phone, I swear." Loran said, almost afraid to walk into the lion's den, if it could be compared to such. Even with Midnite's rule that no Demon or Angel were to start a war in his bar, standing in that throng for even a moment was surreal.
Zack stood up in the bucket of the ferris wheel as it was descending downward from the top. "Alrighty then. Let's go then." he extended his hand out to her again, waiting to teleport back to Rogue City when she was ready. "I'm faster than a cell phone anyway." a smile started to affix to his face as he began to chuckle under his breath.
Loran held on to Zack, smiling. "Ready when you are. I have all night, I suppose." she said, steeling herself for the inevitable, a very strange trip down the proverbial rabbit hole.
"Hahaha. Alright let's go, then." he said as she gripped him and in an instant, they were back in Rogue City, at the park where they were when they first met. "Now where do we need to go from here, Loran?" he was looking around every which way, as if he actually knew where to go.
Loran walked to her right, almost on instict, drawn to a rather thick steel door, a uniscribed hexagram etched into the heavy metal. Tracing the design with her finger, she uttered the most infamous words in the history of locked doors. "Open, Sessame." With a creak, the obstruction swung open.
"I swear, it'd be harder to find if he hid it behind a pile of bricks. You wanna come, or just wait out here?" she asked, turning to face her new friend.
Zack examined the outside of the structure intently, looking for demon blocking talismans or magic imbued items. "This won't...hurt me, will it?" he said as he looked at Loran. "My mother once brought me to church and I got quite the surprise."
"This place is neutral. Demons and Angels alike congregate here. It's not the place you need to fear, but the people. Stick close to me and you should be ok though." she replied, wondering who awaited them inside the infamous club where the most depraved sinner and virtuous saint can stand together.
Zack smiled as he breathed a sly of relief "Okay, good. Thanks." Zack walked in behind Loran. As he entered the bar, he watched a tiny demon walk out of the bar below him. "Wow. Guess you were right, huh."
Loran walked over to the man behind the bar serving drinks. "Is Papa Midnite in, or is he busy?" she asked. The man simply pointed to another solid steel door, this one unembellished with any mark or sign, which Loran took to mean that she could waltz in and collect the bounty on the Demon she killed.
Behind the door was another human, the man who owned one of the largest supernatural, occult collections in the history of occultism itself, the man who kept this place alive, Papa Midnight himself. "Who dares enter my ro--Oh, it's you." He said with a jump once he realized his sole field agent was now in front of him. "Thought I smelled John's blood. Was this mark a bit too much for you? I can always scale it back a bit. You know you're late on your report." his voice was friendly yet business like all at the same time.
Loran gulped, shaking in the same fear a child would just before being punished for doing wrong. "Sorry sir. I was preoccupied shortly after making the kill, someone witnessed me being ambushed in an allyway. However, the mark was deceptively easy to eliminate, three shots. Two to the body, one to the head." she said, recalling the day's events.
Midnite pulled a fifty dollar bill from his wallet and placed it on the desk that seperated the duo. "Next time, don't be late." Once he said that, Loran took her pay and walked back into the bar proper.
Zack examined the exchange with great detail and easily noticed Loran's change in demeanor as she spoke with him. " It's my fault we took so long." Zack stepped forward into the doorway and did not show the same caution that Loran did. "She helped me take it down before it killed a citizen and after that, I treated her to some food and fun." Zack looked Midnite straight in the eyes and did not waver from his beliefs for even a moment. "After all, she doesn't looked to be any older than 17. She is still young and deserves to have fun."
Midnite chuckled, a sound easily compared to rolling thunder. "You should learn your place, boy. I don't mind that she has some fun, don't think I'm that strict I'd prevent her from having a life. I do, however, like to be kept aware of when she makes a kill. I actually thought she was dead, or worse, kidnapped. Forces down below want her, just because of her bloodline. But, I suppose I can't be angry with you. You did for her what not many would. You let her relax, you took her burden without even caring. So, you have my thanks."
Zack crossed his arms, leaning against the doorway that he stepped in to. "Well I suppose your right but the demon wasn't that tough. It was only a four-armed marauder and it was steal premature." Zack raised his head toward the ceiling and closed his eyes, as if doing some sort of calculation. "They don't get that big, although they do travel in packs of t least five others and I kill one the other day." Zack lowered his head, his calculations finished and his strategies deduced. "That means that there are at least three more out there and that they are going to be big; I'm thinking parents to be honest."
"If the one you saw today was any indication, the parents are somewhere in town. You're sharp kid, figuring that out so easily. Now, how would you feel if I asked you to help Loran get rid of them? I can't send her to face them alone. The problem is, I don't have anyone else to send. Will you honor this old man's request?" Midnite asked, his face gravely serious.
Zack smiled, barring his sharp canine teeth as he did so. "I thought you would never ask. I have no one to go home to, so I can stay out all night if I have to." Zack grabbed Loran's arm as he pulled out through the doorway. "Come on. I can smell them and their making my blood boil." He leaped out through the front door of the establishment and almost immediately stuck his nose into the air. "Their close. Only a few blocks or so."
Loran looked around while Zack sensed out where the prey was located. "You can sense them? I'm jealous. Which way do we go Zack? I want to get rid of these monsters sooner rather than later."
"Yeah, I can sense them by smell. Any demon in this city is within my range." he sniffed into the air again, immediately spinning his head to the right afterwords. "This way." Zack said to Loran before picking her up, placing her on his back, and teleporting to the location of the demons. "Sorry of that offended you but I wanted to get her quick." he said as he slid her off of his back, allowing her feet to touch the ground. "Sorry, Loran but you got the last one, these three are mine." Zack said as he stepped forward to face them by himself. "Let's do this." Zack said as he crouched down with his arms crossed.
The air around him quickly transformed from warm and pleasant to cold and deadly. Zack's teeth became pointier, his hair stood on end, and his nails became far more pointier than usual. He raise his head and, by this point, he was emitting a high level of demonic energy, enough to cause the three four-armed marauders to freeze in their tracks. In an instant, Zack swung his arm down, creating a shockwave of pure demonic energy and wind. The wave easily sliced through one demon, but the other two began to flee. Zack teleported directly in front of them, causing them to fall and skid. Zack grabbed one by the face and sent a strong blast of electricity through its body, causing its head to explode. The last one was quickest Zack noted as he teleported in front of its path, intercepting it and grabbing it by its each one of its bigger sets of arms. Zack showed no hesitation or remorse as he ripped it directly in two.
Zack noticed that he did this only a few feet away from Loran and that he and, to some extent, she was covered in its blood. "You okay?" his voice seemed darker and his eyes' sclera, which was normally white, was now black. He seemed like a completely different person, even to himself, which wa why he did not like to transform too often.
Loran nodded even though Zack's new form scared her greatly. "You...you killed them in a matter of seconds. I couldn't even see you until it happened. Can you turn back now? You're kinda scary like that." she said, her voice weak. "Although, it's still you, isn't it?"
Zack looked at himself, as if he didn't realize that he was still in this form. "Oh yeah. I'm really sorry about that." he said as he turned back to his more normal form, feeling sorry for scaring her. "Are you okay? I didn't hurt you did I, Loran?"
"No, I'm fine. You just freaked me out. I've never seen someone do that to three Demons so easily before." Loran said before realizing she had blood all over her. She wiped off as much as she could, leaving only a few dark red spots where there had been liquid. "Feel better after your workout?"
Zack looked at the carnage that he had just created and looked back at Loran. "No. No I don't. I always hate using that form but this was an emergency." He extended out his hand to her in order to help her up. "I'm not myself when I am in the form and I have a hard time controlling myself."
Loran grabbed onto Zack as he helped her. "At least we got the infestation cleared out. We're both safe, Demons are dead, so I say this was a successful endevor, wouldn't you?" she asked him before walking over to the corpses of the fallen monsters. Muttering some Latin incantations, she magically lit the three bodies aflame. No sooner had the blaze begun, it suddenly vanished, leaving no trace behind. "We need to get you some holy weaponry. Otherwise, who knows what will happen to the ones you rip apart." she explained.
"Perhaps, but they might hurt me in recoil." Zack said as he took of his hood and attempted to wring out the blood inside of it. "That's why I don't use them. I don't want to know what they would do to me." Zack put his hoodie back on as he walked over to Loran to observe her. "You saw what I did. I told you I was a demon."
"As am I. I just can't show it as well. We're a strange pair, you and I. But, we're outcasts, even when we try to fit in. I suppose it's just bad luck, but I'm thankful for it. If I wasn't born into this screwed up life, it could be possible that we never met and we'd be different. Everything happens for a reason, so God obviously wanted us to meet each other." Loran said, walking over to Zack and standing at his side. "What do you think? Am I wrong?"
Zack looked down at her and then back up at the full moon. "I suppose, but I just had to go and fall in love with you like a fool." Zack could not break his gaze from the moon; it's beauty reminded him of Loran and he did not want to see her expression in regards to what he just blurted out on accident.
Loran turned her head quickly as a smile crossed her face. "You're not a fool, you nitwit. You're the only person other than Gramps to value me as a person. You stuck up for me back at the bar, against Papa Midnite. If you tried to do that for anyone else, he'd have you kicked out faster than you could blink, or worse. So, no, not a fool at all."
Zack grinned as he spun on his heels, back toward the direction of Midnite's bar. "Let's go. I think we need to check in, right?" Zack said as he waited for Loran to catch up to him.
"Yeah, let's go. He'll probably be happy we took care of this mess." Loran answered as she walked to where Zack was waiting for her.
Zack walked into the bar first this time, now that he was comfortable around the place. he walked through the door he had followed Loran through last time with Loran not far behind. "Hey old man! Problem solved." He bellowed as he walked through the doorway.
Midnite stared at the rude young man who just strode into his personal room. Finally, he decided to speak. "Good, good. That's three kills, four if you count Miss Constantine's and the one you said you already took down, that makes five. So, how do you want your reward? Cash, influence in the underworld or information? I can give you whatever you can dream up. So, come, make an offer."
"Reward?" Zack looked inattentively at Midnite, wondering what he was talking about. "I don't need a reward. I just do it because it's the right thing to do, that's all." Zack looked at Loran in the doorway and a thought came to him. "If she wants the money, give it to her." he said pointing with his thumb to Loran.
"What? You want me to take your reward? Are you nuts? You're the one who took out four Demons." Loran looked shocked as Zack pretty much turned down having anything.
Before Zack could answer, Midnite pulled out two 100 dollar bills and set them on the desk. "Either he's nuts, or he honestly doesn't care if he was paid. Seems like the kid thinks this is just a super-hero gimmick. Let me remind both of you, this is the only place in the country where the war between the two sides, God's angels and Lucifer's Demons, is pointless. Out there, innocent lives are at stake, while supernatural forces wage an endless battle. Odds are, it won't end in your lifetimes, as long as I hope they are. Once you two walk out there, your heads are marked for bounty. You've killed five of the weakest Demons, but that doesn't change the fact Lucifer will sic his soldiers on you and God Himself couldn't stop him without breaking one of the Great Laws that bind this war to the spirit world."
Loran had heard that speech many a time before, and with a heavy heart, she took the money from the desk and walked back outside, leaving her employer and best friend inside.
Zack watched her leave but did not turn his head away from Midnite. "I don't see why you have to be so blunt. She's still young and that means she still has hope." Zack's hands, which were at his sides, clenched into fists as he spoke. "I lost my hope the day my mother died and I won't let her lose hers." Zack walked directly up to Midnite's desk, attempting to show his seriousness. "I'll do whatever I need to do to help Loran and that's a promise."
"Hope? What does she have hope for? Her life's goal is to protect people, and until you came along, only John was willing to do the same for her. You're the first to make the poor kid smile. She's too afraid to admit it, but damn me if she doesn't feel the same about you. Now, you want to help her? That's all well and dandy, but how do you plan on doing it?" Midnite asked, curious to Zack's intent.
Zack thought for a few seconds before he answered him. "I'll do whatever I have to do. I just met her but I love her. I've met no one else like her." Zack's face began to crack with a smile. "I don't know what that is, yet, but when I find out how, I'll do it in a heartbeat."
Midnite laughed as Zack made a lovestruck oath so readily. "Just don't break her heart if you value your existance. Now, I'm sure you're tired of this old man talking. Go to to her before you miss your chance."
Zack nodded his head as he smiled at Midnite. "Nonsense. I enjoyed our talk. I live alone so you'll find I can talk to nearly anyone." he spun on his heels and ran out of the office. He ran out of the bar and noticed that Loran was still outside.
"I'm sorry for making you wait, but I had something's that I needed to get of my chest. I only have one more thing left." Zack said as he took Loran by her hands, looking her directly in the eyes. "It's no secret that I am attracted to you; you picked up on that I'm sure." Zack took a deep breathe as he collected his thoughts all at once. "But Midnite made me see that I don't have forever and that if I miss my chance, I might not get another ever again." he leaned in closer to Loran. "Loran, I love you. I am more certain of this now than ever before and if you don't feel the same way, then at least I tried." Zack leaned in closer to kiss Loran on her lips. His demeanor seemed calm, but on the inside, his nervousness was mounting to aI'm n unprecedented level.
Loran felt her nerves seem to alight like a Christmas tree as Zack confessed the depths of his feelings for her. She kissed him lightly before pulling away. "Zack, it's not that I don't feel the same, it's just, I'm kinda scared that maybe we're going too fast. That and, you gotta meet my dad before we get too serious. He doesn't trust people around me, even though I've got magic powers."
"Your probably right, Loran." he said nervously, realizing he may not have thought his actions through. "It's just that I have never done this before and I like you a lot and..." he paused, actually thinking of his actions that he had just committed. "You aren't mad, are you? I just want I respect you and your space." Zack's nervousness, which had been on the outside was showing its ugly head with every word he spoke.
"Mad? Why would I be? If anything, I'm as nervous as you are. All I ask is that we don't rush this. Nobody said this would be easy, but if we go too fast, someone might be hurt in the long run, and I don't want that to happen, not to you." Loran said, shaking. "Truth is, I'm scared. I've never been this close to someone before."
Zack smiled as he pulled her close and gave her a hug. "Why don't I walk you home, then?" Zack's stomach growled loudly as his eyes, which had been closed, flew open. "Unless you're hungry too..."
"Food sounds like a good idea. What do you want?" Loran asked, her own stomach growling at the mere mention of food.
"I can eat anything from salad to demon flesh, so it would be best and most polite to let you pick." Zack said as he reached down and nonchalantly grabbed Loran's hand, holding it as they walked. "This is all right, isn't it?" Zack asked of Loran in an inquisitive manner. He did not know the first thing about a twenty first century relationship and never got the chance to find out. He had never dated girls in high school for fear of his "true self" showing.
"Yes, it's alright for you to hold my hand you twit. Otherwise, I'd blast you into next week. But back to food, yes, it's polite to let me pick, but I'm differing my right to choose to you, so pick something." Loran replied, holding up her free hand and channeling magic through her fingers, making grey static pass bettween the digits, a comically threatning gesture.
Zack chuckled as he looked down at Loran. "Remind me to never make you made." he said as he gripped her hand, interlocking his fingers with hers. "How about...Chinese food?" he said as he pointed to a small take out shop that was in the direction that they were walking to.
Loran stopped her magical static as Zack made his suggestion. "Chinese works for me. Let's go." she laughed, pulling her consort behind her. "And you'll learn, I'm a Demon-killing highschooler. You won't win arguments, Demon-boy." she teased.
Zack laughed as he was pulled by Loran to the small restaurant. "You are the greatest girl ever." he said as the two entered the shop, taking a seat by the window. A waiter walked over and wrote down the duo's order, returning to the kitchen when it was completed. Zack looked at Loran, trying to think of what question, out of the numerous that he had, that he wanted to ask her first. "So where we're you born, Loran? Where is your hometown?"
"I actually live in Gotham, believe it or not. Dad does accounting at Wayne Enterprises. He got the job when I was about five years old and we had to move from Newcastle, England. One of my few memories of back then was going to the old asylum, Ravenscar. They had to shut it down due to a series of malpractice suits, so I would have the place to myself, except for the ghosts of dead patients." Loran answered, deadly serious. "Sometimes I wonder how Mr. Wayne knew my father to begin with, but that's a puzzle I don't think I can solve."
Zack listened to her every word before he responded. "Wow. That sounds so much more fun than my life. I never had that many fancy things but my mother always tried to give me the best things, regardless." Zack's face looked solemn, but there was still a small smirk on his face. "I remember her not eating a bite for a whole week just so I had food."
"Parents are good at that. To them, kids come first. It's somehow comforting and annoying at the same time. Then again, it's human nature, so I suppose it can be forgiven. Actually, all animals are over protective of their young. It's instinctual. On the other hand, it drives kids insane when it happens." Loran said.
Zack seemed distant, his smirk fading but his demeanor remaining the same. He quickly looked up at her when she finished talking. "Yeah. Parents are good." he said trying to "come back", so to speak, as he seemed so distant at the moment.
"Zack? Hello? Anybody in there? You feeling ok?" Loran asked, her voice shaking. Something was off, that much she could tell, and it wasn't a good feeling.
He picked up his head, looking a scared Loran. "I can't keep doing this to her. I'm going to hurt her." he thought as he smile at her. "Oh it's nothing. I was just thinking about what you said earlier; about me getting revenge." he paused pecking his finger on the table. "And I think that you're right. It's frivolous and unnecessary." he reached over and gently rested his hand on her shoulder. "After all. I've got you now." he said as he flashed a bright, cheerful smile to her.
Loran smiled. Her life was finally starting to go her way after all, of course she'd be happy about that. "You're right it is. I don't want you to go out getting yourself killed for something like that. Nothing is worth that..." her voice trailed off, unsure of how to continute that train of thought. "How about we find something else to talk about?"
Zack chuckled at her suggestion. "I agree. This is getting a little depressing." Zack smiled as he tried to think of a new subject. "What grade are you in now?" Zack asked, this being the best question he could manage.
Loran almost laughed, the question wasn't expected. "Eleventh. Problem is, it's not like I can tell my teachers to forgo the homework because of my job. Oh, yeah, I didn't do my report assigned last month because I was out late slaying the Devil's minions like my grandfather. Can you imagine the looks on their faces? I'd be labeled a loon and thrown in Arkham."
Zack looked at Loran, but his look was full of sadness. "I could help you with your homework, if you would like." he took a sip of the soda that they had ordered when they ordered their meal. "Turned out I had a high IQ, whatever that is; all the doctor's said it was almost two hundred." he scratched his head, feeling as though he was bragging to his newly found love interest. "I had to exert very little effort and even then I got the highest grades, which everyone hated. I graduated high school as a valedictorian."
Loran noticed the sadness in Zack's face but couldn't bring herself to comment on it. "I couldn't ask you to do that. You've got better things to do than papers on obscure mathamatical formulae that some guy in collage invented to get girls." she said, referring to the Nash game theory.
Zack put down his drink, his sadness fading. "No really, I don't mind. I live alone so it would be something for me to do." Zack began to smile now as he spoke. "Besides, I don't think John Nash got too many girls with his theory." Zack said as he laughed at the thought.
Loran couldn't find a witty enough comeback for that. "Ok, ok. You win, this time. I'll find a flaw in your arguments soon enough. So, we can agree that you can help with my homework, IF I need the help."
Zack chuckled. "Oh, our first argument. And it looks like I win." he teased with a smile on his face. "Ohh, Our food is here." he clapped his hands with glee as the waiter set down the food. "Thank you." Zack said to the waiter.
Loran ate a few pieces of the General Tso's chicken that laid in front of her before giving Zack the most evil glare she could muster, which was pretty pathetic given the circumstance. "Don't expect to win every time, Smart-butt." she teased him back.
Zack laughed at her and her gaze. "I know, I know." he said as he patted her on her arm. "I'm not that mean. Plus, when it comes do demon knowledge, you probably have me beat. You could kill me in my sleep." he joked as he ate some sweet and sour chicken and fried rice. "This is great. I haven't had this much fun in years. You make me so happy, Loran."
"Brat, laughing at me and my evil looks. At least you had the decency to admit I could probably end you in seconds, if I knew your species anyway." Loran said before swallowing spoonfulls of rice. "And you make me happy too, so I guess I can spare you."
Zack stopped as she spoke. "Hey, that's true. I don't even know my own species." he said as he ate the rest of his fried rice. "Hmmm. How do you even determine something like that? Is there a test?" he asked of his newly found love.
Loran almost choked on her chicken as Zack asked. "I've never encountered such a test, if it exists, Gramps would probably know for sure. But that's a big if. It's worth a shot at least, and it might be fun to find out."
"You mean you'll be able to poke and prod me for laughing at you." Zack teased as he rose from his seat, setting the money on the table. He extended his hand out to Loran so he could help her up. "Come on. I've got a surprise for you."
"There's that. I never said it be fun for you. Anyway, what's the next surpirse?" Loran asked, giving Zack a quizzical look.
Zack grabbed her by the hand. "It's a secret, come on." he took her into a nearby ally where he put his hands over her eyes. "Make sure you keep them closed." he teased as he, unbennounced to her, he teleported her to a popular cliff in Rogue City. "Okay, open 'em up." he said as he pulled away his hands, reveling a gorgeous, close up view of the full moon. "what do you think, Loran?"
"It's amazing. I've never been this close to the moon before, at least while keeping my feet on the ground. You really know how to pick a good surprise." Loran said as she gazed at the illuminated rock above.
Zack gleefully smiled as he wrapped his arms gently around her waist, resting his chin on her right shoulder. "I'm glad you like it. You know I would give you that moon if you wanted it, right?" he said as he too gazed up at the illuminated moon. "And I don't want to hurt you, so I think that we should take it slow, as well."
"You've already given me what I wanted. I never thought I'd ever have such a good day before, let alone find someone outside of my family who sees me as myself, not the heiress to the one job nobody wants, or worse, as a monster." Loran said, her voice cracking with emotion.
Zack spun Loran around in a quick manner so that she could face him directly. "I never want you to feel that way, especially when you're around me." he said as he brushed her hair out from in front of her face. "I want you to feel safe when you're with me. I want you to feel comfortable when you're around me." his voice, like hers, also began to wane from the increased emotion. "And I want you to feel...loved when you're around me."
Tears began streaming down Loran's face. "Around you, I'm happy. I feel like nothing in this world could go wrong. It's like the universe finally ran out of ways to mess up my life. I can smile each day knowing you'll be there for me." she said, hugging Zack close.
Zack couldn't help but to feel sorry for Loran. It was true that his life had it's fair share of problems in his life, but he never let it bother him. Zack gently wiped her face with the soft sleeve of his hoodie. "It'll be okay." he said as he pulled her close to him as well.
Zack waited a few minutes until Loran was done sobbing until he spoke again. "Do you want to go home? You can stay with me for tonight if you'd like?" he asked as he continued to hold her close.
"How about we plan on that another day? I don't know if my parents would let me. Thanks for the invitation though." Loran answered once she calmed down. Her mind was still racing and it felt like her heart would leap from her chest.
Zack smiled at Loran. "Alright. Where do you live then? Do you live with that 'boss' you mentioned earlier?" Zack asked Loran as he took a few steps back and held out his hand so she could hold on to it.
"No, but I need to let my dad know I'm done with work. I totally forgot to let him know after I made the kill today. He's probably worried about me by now." Loran said, turning her phone back on. Sure enough, there was a single text from her father. "Are you safe? If you see this, reply ASAP"
She smiled. the message was typical for her father, short and to the point. She messaged him back reminding him that she couldn't answer during missions, for safety reasons and that she'd be home shortly. She shook her head and made sure the volume was turned up. "742 Evergreen Terrice, Gotham City." she said, refering to Zack's prior question. She grabbed his hand and prepared for the sudden lurch teleporting was.
Zack closed his eyes to concentrate, since he had to go a farther distance than usual. In an instant, however the duo found themselves in front of Loran's housing complex. "Here you are, miss." he joked as he bowed as he signal his hands towards her door, similar to that of a butler. "I do believe this is your stop?" he leaned his head up and flashed a smile at Loran in an attempt to relieve the lingering emotion Loran expressed minutes ago.
Loran couldn't help but smile before making a sarcastic remark. "Thanks Jeeves." With that said, she walked back over to Zack. "So, what would you say to tomorrow I get Midnite to give you a job? It's pretty hard working alone, and well...I would prefer it if my partner was someone I could trust."
Zack chuckled as he hugged Loran close, pulling her to him. "That sounds good. I want to get to know anyway and that would give us the time." he said to Loran.
"I'm glad you like the idea. "Here's my bussiness card, just in case you want to contact me." Loran handed Zack the card. "Oh, and if you want, meet me at the bar so we can make sure to get all the waivers and other papers signed."
Zack laughed as he took the business card from Loran. "Look at you, all professional and what not." he teased as he set his arm on her shoulder. "And yes I'll meet you there." he said as he gave her a good night hug. "I hope these will be kisses someday." he joked as he released her. "I'll wait to make sure you get in your house safety. You never know what could be inside."
"Make sure you're ready tomorrow. Get plenty of rest and eat a good breakfast, you know, the basics." Loran said with a slight smile. With that she bolted straight to the front door and unlocked it with a spell, much easier than using a key. She disappeared into the dark living room as the door clicked behind her. She used her cell phone as a flashlight while texting her father she was home safely.
After the short treck to her room, she removed her belt and inspected the potion vials on the inside. She made a mental note to make more after work tomorrow before placing the belt and her guns on her dresser. Thanks to a special spell on her bedroom door, no one except her family could get inside without knowing the order to undo the seals that comprised the spell, something like a glorified touchscreen pattern lock on a smartphone. Knowing that her belongings were stashed away safely, she set her alarm and fell asleep.
Zack smiled at the suggestion as he watched her walk inside. He continued to smile as he turned on his heels and took a few steps before teleporting back to his apartment in Rogue City. He washed up with a shower, dried off, and crawled into his bed for a good nights sleep.
The next morning, Zack woke and got ready for a typical morning, following the steps Loran gave him last night. "Okay. Let's go." he said as he teleported outside of Midnite's bar. "She should be here soon." he said to himself as he leaned up against the wall to take a quick snooze.
As soon as day broke, Loran prepared for the day. She dressed quickly and decided to remove the four glass vials in the belt. She grabbed a new cloak from her closet and ran out the door to catch the first bus out of the city. A ten minute ride later, she was already in walking distance of the doorway to the bar. That's when she noticed someone leaning against the wall. She walked over and realized she knew who it was.
A devious thought entered her mind as she walked over. After all, it would be the best time to introduce rule number one: Never sleep on the job. She poked his arm and sent a small amount of magic, equal to two jolts of static electricity.
Zack quickly jumped up from where he was resting, looking from side to side to see who or what just shocked him. "Son of a...!" he looked and noticed that it was none other than Loran herself. "Why you little..." he teased as he gave her a welcoming hug. "I owe you one now. Did you sleep well?" he asked as he examined her face for fatigue.
"Of course. Are you ready to sign the papers? If you want to back out, this is the last chance you'll get." Loran said, hoping and praying Zack doesn't up and leave. She hid her thoughts behind a warm smile all the same, wanting the choice to be his own.
Zack smiled as he set his hand in her shoulder. "Are you kidding me? I wouldn't pass up the offer to be this close to you." he said as he gave her another big hug.
"I should have guessed you'd say that." Loran said with obvious restraint. She gave Zack a quick hug before walking over to the door, and as she had the night before, intoned the expected phrase. "Come on, the old man's not gonna like you being late on the first day." she said, walking into the bar's depths.
Zack watched Loran walk into the bar. "She was hesitant just now. Good job taking it slow. Stupid! Stupid! That's not slow!" he said to himself as he walked behind her. He followed her to the same room as yesterday, where, as before, Midnite sat at the same exact desk.
"Hello." Zack said to Midnite as he walked through the door. "Sorry I'm late. I was waiting outside for Loran. Thought we had to come in together." he said as he rubbed the back of his in a nervous fashion as he chuckled lightly to himself.
Midnite looked confused for a moment before realizing exactly what Zack meant. "I just need you to sign this paper, then I can put you to work. There will be a few more papers but I seem to have misplaced them, so if you're willing to work, sign in ink or blood, both are equally binding." he said, sliding the paper across his desk.
In what seemed like an instant, Zack signed the paper in his blood and pushed it back across the desk to Midnite. "Here you go. Let me know when you find the others. Is there anything else you need from me?" Zack asked, his finger still dripping with blood.
"Only that you understand three things. One, never come late to work. Secondly, you're going to be placed in dangerous situations. Third, your partner is your superior. Anything she says, goes. Got it?" Any trace of sympathy Midnite had for the young man had faded the moment blood met paper.
"Got it. Anything else? Do I need a uniform or anything?" Zack asked inquisitively of his new boss.
"Actually, as you are now in my employ, we must discuss how I will pay you. Name your price." The air in the room felt more business-like and less like it was a extention of the bar.
Zack scratched his head, attempting to think of a right answer. "Um, I don't know. I don't like to be for something I was born to do but if I had to name a price..." he said as he looked over at Loran, a preverbal light going off in his head. "It would be the same as Loran's...or lower. I don't know."
"Fine, your starting pay will be the same as hers. Fifty dollars a kill, unless I decide that the kill was worth more, or you earn a raise, whichever comes first." Midnite replied before reaching over and grabbing a file from a stack.
"Here's the hunt of the day for you both, a banshee. It appeared last night in the construction yard a few blocks away and just its voice scared away the workers. Now, I don't know if you are aware, but this isn't a weakling like last night. There's only a single weak spot on these screaming devils; The head. Their bodies are outside of the mortal plane. Good luck and report back as soon as you're done, no trips to the amusement park. Dismissed."
Zack waited for Loran to leave first and then nodded to Midnite and walked out. "Do you need any supplies first Loran?" Zack asked he brushed himself off and checked his pockets for candy bars, a common thing he always had with him. "Because I'm all set."
Loran shook her head. "I've got everything." she answered before grabbing one of her guns, the Varja. "Take this gun. Don't worry, it won't burn you. However, please be careful. The bullets are custom-made to kill demons like you and me. They're made of blessed silver with mercury cores in them."
Zack looked at the gun before taking it. "I don't really do guns, Loran." he said as he hesitantly took the gun, placing it in his hoodie pocket. "Let's go." he said as he grabbed her hand and teleported to the construction site that Midnite had mentioned. "This place is only a block away from my apartment." Zack told Loran as the two began to search for the demon.
A shrill cry echoed throughout the site. Loran shivered at the sound, it was unlike any Demon's she had ever heard. Part of her just wanted to run away, curl up on her bed and try to forget the sound. "Zack, do you hear that? It's..." she trailed off, something caught her eye.
A human-like being appeared right in front them. The form itself was spectral, only a skull appeared to be tangable. Long, black, ghostly hair cascaded down from the creature's head. "Go on, tell me what you were going to say. I'm creepy, scary, what? What's the matter girly, scared? I suggest you take your friend over there and run. Otherwise, I'm gonna kill you." it cackled madly as a giant cleaver appeared it it's hand.
"I'm not going anywhere. I'll send you to Hell before I leave." Loran answered before running up to the demon and drawing her gun. Once she was within striking range, her right hand swung forward pointlessly. Out of habit, she had struck out with the hand that carried the Varja pistol. She paid the blunder little heed, firing the other gun, expecting a sick crunching noise, but the banshee blocked the bullet with the cleaver.
Loran jumped back over to Zack as the ghoul started talking again. "A fighter, eh? How about this. If I stab you both with the cleaver I carry, you will serve me until your bones rot and your soul dies. But, if you can kill me, I won't come back ever. The game starts now." it vanished almost as if it wasn't there, challenging the duo to track it down and kill it.
Zack could only watch as Loran attacked the demon single handedly. "Yup. I am definitely in love." he said to himself as Loran joined him at his side. He held out his arm, motioning to Loran to stay still. Zack put his nose into the air and closed his eyes. He began to sniff the air as he immediately caught the scent. "Come." he whispered as he grabbed her hand and teleported them both in the demon's intended escape path.
"Going somewhere?" Zack asked bluntly. Everything about him was beginning to change; his facial expression, which was normal cheery and bright, was now flushed and bland. Even the air around him began to change, turning into an odd sensation of pins and needles.
"Calm down Zack. You're too agressive right now. Rule two of this line of work, look for anything that can be used to your advantage. If nothing of the sort exists, only then should you go straight into a dangerous situation.." Loran said, an eerie calm in her words. Glancing around, she noticed a stack of crates, obviously full of metal, cement mix and who could tell what else. An idea formed in her head. Pointing her index finger at the lowest crate and fired her most basic spell, Archi-Radi-Marga. A blast of grey energy surged forward and slammed into the crate and caused the structure to topple outward, away from the banshee.
The specter didn't hesitate to point out the mistake. "Even a weak spell defies natrual law girly. You of all people should have known the impact was greater than what you needed it to be. Looks like you're out of options to me. If you submit now, I promise not to hurt you much."
Zack teleported next to the Banshee in an instant. "I think not." he said as he shocked the spectator with a powerful blast of lightning. "If you think you can hurt her, then you ARE dumber than you look."
The banshee fell to the ground, obviously in pain. Even though it was little more than a floating skull, appearently even it could suffer from a shock like that. "You are a foolish boy. That girl you're fighting for...she's more of a danger than I am. You'll learn soon enough." With a mad laugh, the skull turned to ash, never to move again.
Zack started at the creature and then back at Loran, as if to be somewhat concerned with the final words it spoke. "Ignorant beast. That was a small shock compare to other things I've done." the words that it spoke as it died seemed not to phase, although Zack was unsure the effect they had on Loran.
Loran's eyes widened as the Demon died, it's last words echoing in her mind. After all, there was some truth about what it had just said, a truth that she denied even as it clawed at her mind. The worst part was, she didn't know how to explain it. "How...How did it know?" The words came as barely a whisper.
Zack looked down at where the demon had just died. Without looking back at Loran, he began to spoke. "I know about the prophecy Loran." he spun on his heels and walked over to her, titing her head up with his hand. "And if I cared, I wouldn't be here with you right now."
Loran sighed. The prophecy fortold that she would either finish what her grandfather had started or become the mother of the worst terror to ever exist. "You knew? Since when? How could you have known about it?"
Zack chuckled at Loran. "I told you I am a genius, remember?" he said as he tapped the tap of his head with his forefinger. "It would probably be easier to ask me what I don't know." he laughed as he extended his hand out to her. "Ready to head back yet?" he asked Loran as he watched her stand frozen.
Loran grabbed Zack's hand. "Yeah. Let's go back. I'd rather not stay here too long." she said, casting another glance at the pile of ashes.
"Okay." Zack said simply as he teleported her and himself back outside Midnite's club. Zack could see that Loran seemed to care a lot about the prophecy whereas he himself could care less; he just wants to be with her and protect her from harm. "He's probably waiting for us, huh?"
Loran opened the door and turned to face Zack once more. "I'd be surprised if he isn't, to be honest with you. Midnight never, ever leaves this place without a very good reason. Usually, it's because there's a Demon coming through we can't stop alone, so he finds help. If that ever happens, treat it like a normal mission, but instead of listening to me, you and I both listen to whoever he brought in." she said, walking into the club and going straight to Midnite's room, waiting for Zack to catch up before entering.
Zack nodded, siganling that he understood everything she said. "Okay, gotcha." he said as he walked up behind Loran as the two entered the room. "All set. Anything else boss?" Zack asked Midnite as he and Loran stood there, awaiting any further orders.
Midnite smiled. "Other than mountains of paperwork that I can't find, I've got nothing for you right now. You two are dangerous when put together it seems. I think I should send you against stuff you normally wouldn't be forced to face. But that can wait until I get information. Here's your pay. Take it and go have fun or something." he slid their reward across the table and returned to his piles of information on any supernatural activity.
Loran grabbed her share. "I'll meet you outside Zack." And with that, she turned and exited the room and in short order, out of the club.
Zack was hesitant about taking the money but did so anyway so he could catch up to Loran. "So now what?" Zack asked her, patiently awaiting her response.
"I guess we got the day to ourselves right? I don't know what to do. Usually, I'd have been on a second mission right now. Besides, anything is fun when I have you with me." Loran answered. "I'm up for anything you want to do."
Zack stroked his chin, attempting to think of something fun to do. "I am not really sure, Loran. There isn't much I like to do. Just being with you is enough fun in itself." he said as he smiled at her.
"Why are men always such a pain to get answers out of?" Loran asked, half annoyed and half amused. "How about we go shopping? I know, it's not manly, but I'm sure we can come up with stores you'd want to go to."
Zack shrugged his shoulders as he chuckled at Loran. "Men are just easier to please. Doesn't matter what we are doing, just who we're with." he said as he gently patted her on the top of her head. "Now do you have a specific place in mind, like a mall or something?"
Loran couldn't help but see the logic in Zack's words. "The mall sounds like a good place to go. After all, with that many stores, we can definitely find something you'd like."
Zack laughed and then stopped abruptly. "Wait. For me?" he asked inquisitively. "I thought that we were going for you." he said in a jokingly yet serious tone.
Loran grabbed Zack's hand. "Not everything has to be about me. I want to learn about what you like, your interests. Besides, my life is pretty boring outside work."
Zack teleported the two of them to a nearby mall. "Well my life isn't exactly awesome either." he laughed as the two walked into the mall.
"You're stubborn. But, since I picked coming here, you've gotta pick which store to go to first." Loran figured she'd never get straight answers out of Zack, so she all but trapped him into deciding something.
Zack looked around nervously before finding a Forever Sixteen store nearby. "How about that?" he asked as he pointed nervously to the storefront.
Loran looked over to where Zack was pointing. "Sure. I could do with some more outfits anyway. Come on." she said, dragging Zack behind her.
Zack lurched forward as she pulled him to the storefront. "Easy. Any harder and you'll pull my arm off." he joked as the two entered the store. Zack immediately began to look around, quickly noticing all the mannequins and other objects around the store.
"Alright. I'll go look for stuff for me, while you look for you. We'll meet up when we're done, ok?" Without waiting for an answer, she walked away and began searching for shirts.
Zack looked around the store, confused, until he found a pair of jeans, a lot like the ones he had on now. He stared at the jeans intently, unsure of what to do, so he stood there and waited for advice from anyone.
Loran picked up a few shirts, most of which had a bird design. She then walked over to where Zack was. "Trying to decide something?"
Zack looked at her nervously, unsure what to do. He noticed the shirts in her hand and became more nervous. "How did you get those? Shouldn't you wait for the store workers to get those?" he asked her as if she were stealing them.
"I'm no thief Zack, if that's what you're thinking. I'd never stoop that low. You just grab it and take it to the counter and pay for it, silly boy." Loran said, unintentionally letting a hint of anger color the words.
"Oh." Zack said as he took the pair of jeans down and followed Loran to the counter. "Now what do we do?" he asked nervously as he stood directly next to Loran.
A store clerk came from the back room and noticed that there were customers. "Here, let me ring these up for you." She took the clothing the duo had carried over and scanned them. Once each was properly scanned, she placed them into light blue plastic bags. "Your total comes to...$189.76."
Loran put four fifty dollar bills on the counter. The clerk took the money and handed back ten dollars and twenty-four cents along with the bags. Loran took the change and the bags and walked out of the store and waited for Zack.
Zack looked at the money Loran placed on the counter. "I don't know where you got that money, Loran, but I could have bought my own." he said as he put his hand on her shoulder.
"And you bought me dinner last night. So now, we're even. One thing for one thing. End of story." Loran said, her tone indicating that she wouldn't listen to any rebuttals.
Zack frowned as he tried to keep pace with Loran. "I still don't like the idea but I won the last quarrel, so you can have this one." he chuckled as he patted her on top of her head. "Were to now?"
Loran looked around before her eyes settled on a bookstore. "How about there?" she pointed to the store in question. "Unless you want to go somewhere?"
Zack looked to the location that Loran pointed to and became excited "They have a book store?! That is awesome!" he said as he ran into the store, immediately going over to the philosophy books.
Loran ran behind Zack trying to keep up. She went to the young adult fiction section. Although it was really annoying to encounter a thousand vampire novels in the same location, there were times where one could find something of value after all.
"Those are gross." Zack said as he came up from behind her with a copy of Civilization and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud. "We should write a book about how things really are." he joked as he began to read the book.
"Tell me about it. It glorifies the very stuff we try to prevent. I'll tell you now Zack, vampires are real. Heck, every myth has truth to it somewhere. But can you imagine the uproar when people learn that government agencies exist to make sure the populace never finds out? There are people trained to kill supernatural forces, but they can't touch Demons or Angels. That, my friend, is our job. Only we have the power needed to send them back to where they belong."
Zack chuckled as he patted Loran on the head. "Look at you. 'The vampire lobbyist'." he joked as he went to the counter to pay for his book, a custom he learned from the last venue. "You have my vote when you run for president."
Loran found a book she had been looking for for a while and decided to follow Zack to the counter.
"We would like to purchase these please." Zack said to the clerk as he turned an winked at Loran, as if he knew that he was doing something right.
Loran smiled and placed her book on the counter and the clerk scanned the books. "It's buy one, get one free day, so your total comes to twenty three dollars and sixty one cents."
Zack pulled his wallet with attached chain out of hi back pocket. "I got this one." he said as he took out twenty five dollars, handed it to the clerk, and dropped the change in the tip cup. "Now where to?" he asked Loran as the two casually left the book store.
"I don't know. I picked last time, so you get to decide." Loran said casually.
Zack chuckled as he set his hand on Loran's shoulder. "I have actually had enough fun for ten people. What do you say we go home?" he asked her before he teleported away. Zack had a understanding that Loran did not seem to want to teleport all over kingdom come, mostly because she was not used to the sensation of teleporting.
"Alright. Let's go." Loran said, mentally preparing for the sudden, strange feeling that is teleporting.
Zack teleported the duo back to the front of Loran's apartment. "Well I believe this is where you get off, ma'am." Zack said jokingly, as if he were a train conductor. "Will I see you soon?"
"That depends. Will you be at work tomorrow?" Loran asked. "Cause, if you are, they you will surely see me again. And, well, I hope you're there."
Zack chuckled as he nervously rubbed the back of his head. "I suppose that you're right in that selection. I will be there and I look forward to working with you." he said as he gave Loran and gentle hug. "I'll see you around, Loran." he said as he teleported away.
Loran waited a minute, letting her emotions quiet themselves before walking in the door. When she got to her room, she reached for her guns and realized...Zack still had the Varja. Loran knew it was her own fault for not asking for it back, but she didn't care. Perhaps he could be taught to use it properly some day, a far-fetched hope, one that she entertained until the calm bliss of sleep over took her mind.